Emily Rizner Brasfield
Civil Trail Deposition
Emily Rizner Cedar Falls Police Department Report
5 The state would call Emily Brasfield.
6 EMILY JOY BRASFIELD,
7 called as a witness on behalf of the state, being first
8 duly sworn by the court, was examined and testified as
10 COURT: If you would, state your full name,
12 WITNESS: Emily Joy Brasfield.
13 COURT: How do you spell your last name?
14 WITNESS: B-R-A-S-F-I-E-L-D. At the time of
15 the accident it was Emily Rizner.
16 COURT: Thank you. How do you spell that?
17 WITNESS: R-I-Z-N-E-R.
18 COURT: Mr. Wadding?
19 MR. WADDING: Thank you.
20 DIRECT EXAMINATION
21 BY MR. WADDING:
22 Q. Ms. Brasfield, I believe that you indicated
23 to the court, just for our purposes here, at the time of
24 this incident on October 4th, 1996, your last name was
25 different; is that correct?
1 A. Yes. It was Rizner.
2 Q. Okay. And you since have been married; is
3 that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And do you go by Brasfield or Rizner?
6 A. Brasfield.
7 Q. And are you employed, Ms. Brasfield?
8 A. Yes. I work at Herbergers Department Store.
9 Q. And how long have you worked there?
10 A. Since November of '95.
11 Q. And are you a resident of this area?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. How long have you been a resident of this
15 A. I've lived here my whole life.
16 Q. And how old a person are you, ma'am?
17 A. I'm 18.
18 Q. And I want to draw your attention to the date
19 of October 4th, 1996, at approximately 11 p.m. Do you
20 recall where you were at that time?
21 A. Yes. I was driving north on Highway 58.
22 Q. And were you operating the vehicle?
23 A. Yes, I was.
24 Q. Was anybody with you?
25 A. My fiancé at the time, now my husband. He
1 was in the passenger seat.
2 Q. Anyone else with you?
3 A. No.
4 Q. What's your husband or fiancé's name?
5 A. DeWayne Brasfield.
6 Q. And do you recall why you were on that road?
7 A. We had gone to a late movie at -- 9 o'clock
8 movie, and we were on our way home. We live on campus.
9 Q. When you say you live on campus, what campus
10 are you speaking of?
11 A. The University of Northern Iowa campus.
12 We're in married student housing.
13 Q. And do you recall what movie theater you
14 would have been at or anything like that?
15 A. We would have been at Crossroads Theater. I
16 don't remember what movie we saw or anything.
17 Q. Had you done anything prior to going to the
18 movie, do you remember?
19 A. I don't recall.
20 Q. Had you had anything to drink that had
21 alcohol in it?
22 A. No.
23 Q. And do you know if Mr. Brasfield had?
24 A. No.
25 Q. He did not?
1 A. No.
2 Q. And do you recall where you were traveling on
3 that date then, on what road?
4 A. Highway 58. We were going north.
5 Q. You were going north?
6 A. Uh-huh.
7 Q. And could you describe, what would have been
8 your course of travel -- first of all, where were you
9 heading? What was your ultimate destination?
10 A. We had a stop at a friend of my husband's to
11 drop something off for him, a CD player that was his.
12 Q. So what route were you taking or going to
14 A. We were going to turn left on Greenhill Road
15 and head up to the University, take Hudson Road and head
16 up to the University.
17 Q. And did you approach the intersection of
18 Highway 58 and Greenhill Road?
19 A. Yes, I did.
20 Q. What observations did you make of that
21 intersection when you approached it?
22 A. I was in the right lane when I began to
23 approach it, and there was a yellow blinking light, and I
24 needed -- we changed our mind on what course we were
25 taking to the University, and so I switched into the left
2 Q. And is that for -- what was the purpose of
3 switching into the left lane?
4 A. Because we decided to go to his friend's
5 house instead of go straight home.
6 Q. And what happened then?
7 A. Then I heard a crash, and I saw the back of
8 the navy blue car in the ditch -- or heading in the
9 ditch. I saw the actual movement of it going into the
10 ditch, and then by then we had gotten to the
11 intersection, and I made a U-turn, and my husband -- or
12 my fiancé at the time got out of the car, and then I
13 parked it.
14 Q. And you say you heard it crash, and then you
15 saw the back end of a blue car; is that correct?
16 A. Right.
17 Q. And did -- did you see -- did you see the
18 accident occur any time prior to that?
19 A. No, I did not.
20 Q. And when your husband got out, where did he
21 go, do you know?
22 A. He ran to the blue car.
23 Q. And where -- you indicated that you parked
24 your car; is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And made a U-turn?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And where did you park your car then?
4 A. I parked it along the side of the road by the
5 ditch where the navy blue car was --
6 Q. Would that have been on Highway 58 or
7 Greenhill Road?
8 A. It would have been Highway 58, and my car was
9 facing south, the opposite direction that I was driving.
10 Q. And what did you do after you parked your
12 A. I jumped out, and I ran to the silver
13 vehicle, and there was a woman and a man getting out.
14 The man was getting out of the driver's seat, and the
15 women was getting out of the passenger's side. And I
16 just asked them, do you need any help? And the woman
17 said to me in slurred speech that she was fine but that
18 she felt that the other car needed help. So then I ran
19 to the navy blue car where my fiancé was at the time.
20 Q. Now, prior -- you say you went to the silver
21 vehicle; is that correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. You observed how many people in that vehicle?
24 A. Two.
25 Q. You described them as a male and female?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Is one of those individuals in the courtroom
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Could you point him out and describe what
6 he's wearing?
7 A. The man right there in the gray suit.
8 MR. WADDING: May the record reflect the
9 witness has identified the defendant?
10 COURT: It may.
11 Q. Now, you said that -- did you make any other
12 observations other than the slurred speech of the woman?
13 A. She was stumbling around. Both of them were
14 stumbling around when they got out of the car.
15 Q. And did you make any other observations?
16 A. No. When she said that the navy blue car
17 needed help, I just ran right there.
18 Q. And did you ever go back to those two
20 A. Yes, I did.
21 Q. Okay. When did -- when would you have gone
22 back to those two individuals?
23 A. Once I had gone to the navy blue car and
24 realized there was not much we could really do, I ran
25 back -- they were in the middle of the intersection on
1 the median, and I went back over there to make sure
2 everything was okay with them.
3 Q. Now, you say you ran over to the blue car --
4 A. Uh-huh.
5 Q. -- first before going back. What was your
6 purpose in going over to the blue car?
7 A. Well, the damage was pretty bad. We wanted
8 to make sure everybody was okay.
9 Q. Okay. Could you describe what you saw?
10 A. In the passenger seat there was a girl that
11 was conscious. She had a lot of blood all over her shirt
12 and stuff. The driver was pretty crunched into the
13 vehicle. At first we didn't know there was anyone in the
14 back, but it almost looked as if someone was having
15 seizures. They were kind of going like this
16 (indicating), and so we saw movement in the back and
17 realized there was someone back there.
18 Q. Now, you say that the driver appeared to be
19 pretty crunched in there, and could you -- what do you
20 mean by pretty crunched in there?
21 A. The steering wheel in the front of the car
22 were, and the side of the car were all pretty -- she was
23 not in a position I could move her or we could get her to
24 safety at all. I didn't feel comfortable in moving her
25 because she was -- I mean, she was not able -- she was so 50
1 crunched into the car, I mean, there was debris
3 Q. She looked like she was pinned in there?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Did you know any of those individuals?
6 A. No, I did not.
7 Q. And who -- who's all at the blue car when
8 you're at the blue car?
9 A. Me and my fiancé were the only two at the
11 Q. Did you observe anybody else at the
12 intersection other than the defendant and the female that
13 was with him and the three people in the blue car?
14 A. There was another gal in a red car that was
15 driving, I want to say east on Greenhill, and she was
16 parked just a few feet away, a few yards away from the
18 Q. Did you have any contact with her?
19 A. We just asked her what she saw and if she had
20 called. We made sure she had called 911 and stuff
21 because we had a cell phone with us.
22 Q. And had she called 911?
23 A. Yes. We -- it was taking awhile though, so
24 we made another call because we felt it was taking quite
1 Q. And, I mean, what was your feeling, or what
2 was your impression of the -- of the seriousness of the
4 A. I thought it was very serious. I didn't
5 think that they would make it, any one of them in the car
6 other than the passenger. I didn't think the person in
7 the back seat or the driver would make it.
8 Q. Were you getting any kind of response out of
9 the driver or the back seat passenger when you made
10 contact with them?
11 A. No. They were -- we tried to, you know,
12 say -- ask them if they were okay, but they were both
13 unconscious, and they both looked almost as if they were
14 having seizures or some kind of shock because they were
15 both moving, but they were not conscious.
16 Q. And after you went to the blue car, how long
17 do you think you stayed at the blue car?
18 A. Oh, five, ten minutes.
19 Q. And you said that you went back to that --
20 the silver vehicle or the defendant and the female that
21 was with him?
22 A. The silver vehicle was aban -- I mean, they
23 got out of it and everything, so we didn't go back there,
24 but they were on the median in the -- on Greenhill Road,
25 and they were sitting there, and they -- holding each
1 other up and kind of stumbling around and stuff.
2 Q. Now, did you have any further contact with
3 them verbally?
4 A. I did not speak to them directly, but I did
5 hear him say that he had something to drink that night.
6 Q. And do you remember what kind -- kind of
7 context he put that in, or do you recall -- just recall
8 it as a general statement that he had something to drink?
9 A. I had a few drinks tonight. I mean, that was
10 pretty much -- just a basic statement, I had a few drinks
12 Q. Now --
13 MR. WADDING: May I approach, Your Honor?
14 COURT: You may.
15 Q. I had you take a look at this prior to your
16 testimony today, didn't I?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. I don't know, I don't have -- I don't have a
19 pen that seems to want to work on here very well, but I
20 was wondering if you could at least attempt to plot where
21 your vehicle would have been on this -- on the drawing
22 itself or on the photograph.
23 A. Okay. At the time of the accident?
24 Q. Yes.
25 A. (Complied.)
1 Q. Okay. Could you just put your initials
2 there, if you wouldn't mind.
3 A. (Complied.)
4 Q. Now, that's initialed E B, right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Now, if you wouldn't mind, if I could ask you
7 to indicate where you would have located the two
8 vehicles, the silver vehicle and the blue vehicle.
9 A. Okay.
10 Q. If you wouldn't mind.
11 A. (Complied.)
12 COURT: Is this after impact?
13 MR. WADDING: After impact, yes.
14 A. That being the silver and that being the
16 Q. Okay. Could you just go ahead and put like a
17 B for the blue and the S for the silver.
18 A. (Complied.)
19 Q. Thank you. And when you observed the other
20 vehicle on Greenhill Road, where would that vehicle have
22 A. Right there by that median just parked right
23 at the intersection.
24 Q. Now, you said that -- you said that the
25 defendant and the female that was with him were standing
1 on the median of Greenhill Road. What median are you
2 speaking of?
3 A. This one right there (indicating).
4 Q. And is that in the middle of the lanes of
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And that was after -- that was after you had
8 already been to the blue car?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And they were still on the median?
11 A. Yes. They were there until the cops and
12 the -- until the police and the ambulance arrived.
13 Q. And after the police and ambulance arrived,
14 what did you do?
15 A. They got our names and asked, you know, what
16 happened, and we told them what happened. We waited
17 around until everyone had been -- until the ambulance had
18 been loaded and everything, and then we left.
19 Q. And did you have any further contact with
20 police personnel?
21 A. That night we did go down and make a
22 statement to the police.
23 MR. WADDING: That's all the questions I
24 have. Thank you.
25 COURT: Mr. Correll?
2 BY MR. CORRELL:
3 Q. Ms. Brasfield, when you were going down
4 Highway 58, you ultimately decided to go home and turn
5 left; is that what you were going to do?
6 A. We were going to go home and make a right,
7 and we decided to stop at his friend's house to drop
8 something off and so switched lanes to make a left.
9 Q. Okay. And how far back from the intersection
10 in feet were you approximately when you decided to make
11 that lane change?
12 A. We were probably a block away from the
14 Q. And when you were looking to make that lane
15 change, did you look over your shoulder, in the mirror
16 or --
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Is it fair to say you didn't see the -- the
19 Rokes vehicle coming from -- on Greenhill Road?
20 A. No. I did not see their vehicle until after
21 the accident occurred.
22 Q. And is it fair to also say that you didn't
23 see the Farrell vehicle prior to the accident?
24 A. No, I did not.
25 Q. And what really -- the first thing you knew
1 about it was the noise, I take it, and that caused
2 your -- to be kind of be alert, I suppose?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And you saw the post accident, but the car
5 still in motion; am I correct in that?
6 A. That is correct.
7 Q. And the -- did you review your statement
9 A. Yes, I did.
10 Q. And was that statement -- wasn't that
11 statement taken the next -- not the next Saturday, but
12 that next night, Saturday night?
13 A. I -- it was either that night or the next
14 night. I don't quite remember when it was taken.
15 Q. Could it have been --
16 MR. CORRELL: Could you show her her
18 (At which time Mr. Wadding handed the
19 requested document to Mr. Correll.)
20 Q. I'm going to hand to you what is marked a
21 copy of the statement from the Cedar Falls police, and it
22 has your name before you were married down here. Is that
23 your signature?
24 A. Yes, it is.
25 Q. Okay. And I would refer you, it looks like
1 here the statement was October 5th, which I think the
2 record will show was a Saturday, and that it started at
3 about 21:50 hours, which would be like 7:30 or so in
4 the -- or later than that I guess it would be, but
5 does -- after having seen that, does that refresh your
6 recollection as to when you gave the statement?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Okay. And it would have been not quite
9 24 hours later --
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. -- is that correct? And in that statement
12 that you gave the officer, you made -- you make no
13 statement or allegation in that that Mr. Rokes was under
14 the influence of alcohol; isn't that correct?
15 A. I believe that when they were stumbling
16 around and their speech was slurred, I believe -- whether
17 or not I indicated it on the statement, I believe he was
19 Q. You did not indicate that in your statement
20 though, did you?
21 A. No, I did not.
22 Q. And you didn't indicate any smell or odor of
23 alcohol from Mr. Rokes, did you?
24 A. I did not smell any alcohol on him, no.
25 Q. And he had just been in a substantial
1 collision, had he not?
2 A. (Nodding.)
3 Q. Isn't that correct?
4 A. That is correct.
5 Q. And isn't it possible that the stumbling --
6 first of all, he helped his wife, did he not?
7 A. Yes, he did.
8 Q. And isn't it also possible that the stumbling
9 that you saw was stumbling associated with just being in
10 the impact of that accident?
11 A. It is possible, yes.
12 Q. Okay.
13 A. I don't believe that the slurred speech had
14 anything to do with the impact though.
15 Q. This slurred speech you mentioned was his
16 wife though, was it not?
17 A. It was both of them.
18 Q. And that is not indicated in here anyplace,
19 is it?
20 A. No.
21 Q. And you would have had a chance to put that
22 in, did you not?
23 A. Yes.
24 MR. CORRELL: That's all I have.
25 COURT: Mr. Wadding?
1 REDIRECT EXAMINATION
2 BY MR. WADDING:
3 Q. You indicated that it was possible that the
4 stumbling could be attributed to the accident. Did you
5 attribute that to the accident?
6 A. At first I thought it was because of the
7 accident, yes. When I first arrived and they were
8 stumbling, I thought they were in shock.
9 Q. Did that continue throughout your contact
10 with them? Did you always think it was because of the
12 A. No. After the initial, you know, after I had
13 spoken to them and they were sitting on the curb, I mean,
14 they were real -- they were holding each other up. They
15 were -- they couldn't even sit up, and so I didn't think
16 that was -- had anything to do with the accident. I
17 thought that had to do with alcohol.
18 Q. And do you recall anybody from -- well, you
19 gave your statement to the Cedar Falls Police Department;
20 is that correct?
21 A. That's correct.
22 Q. Did anybody ask you to make that conclusion?
23 Did anybody ask you to say, did you think they were
25 A. No.
1 Q. And you're just basically writing down your
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. And part of those observations was that they
5 were stumbling; is that correct?
6 A. Yes, that's correct. They were asking me
7 questions, and I was answering them, and they were
8 writing them in sentence form. I never told a story of
9 what happened.
10 Q. Did the -- your opinion that the defendant
11 was intoxicated, did that form at the time that you were
12 out at the scene, or when did you form that opinion that
13 he was intoxicated?
14 A. I formed that at the scene.
15 MR. WADDING: That's all the questions I
16 have. Thank you.
18 BY MR. CORRELL:
19 Q. At the same time you never smelled any
20 alcohol on him; isn't that correct?
21 A. No, I did not.
22 Q. And when he said he had had a drink, he was
23 giving that information to a law enforcement officer, was
24 he not?
25 A. I believe so, yes.
1 MR. CORRELL: That's all.
2 COURT: Mr. Wadding?
3 MR. WADDING: Nothing further.
4 COURT: Thank you.
5 Why don't we take ten minutes at this point,
6 and we'll reconvene at 10:45. Also, I have a note that
7 courtroom 3 is available, but everyone is set up in here.
8 Any problem if we just meet back here at 10:45?
9 MR. WADDING: Well, I guess the state would
10 request, if -- if it isn't too inconvenient to the court,
11 that we go to a larger courtroom. I believe that the
12 gallery is -- I think that obviously Ms. Farrell's family
13 is here and those people that support Juli Farrell as
14 well, and I think the accommodations are not very
15 conducive to their observing the trial. I would ask that
16 we go to courtroom 3.
17 COURT: They do appear a little cramped back
18 there. Any problem with that, Mr. Correll?
19 MR. CORRELL: I'll leave that up to the
21 COURT: We'll reconvene in courtroom 3 at
23 (At which time a recess was taken at
24 10:37 a.m., May 13, 1997; and proceedings commenced at
25 10:50 a.m., May 13, 1997, with the court, counsel and
1 defendant present.)
2 COURT: Are the parties ready? Mr. Wadding?
3 MR. WADDING: Yes, Your Honor.
4 COURT: Mr. Correll?
5 MR. CORRELL: Yes.